What is SEO? SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, indicates the website optimization process for better visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERP).
Since you might be familiar with all the definitions and benefits, your next step is to begin the SEO journey. But, as a beginner, it is easy to get lost sometimes.
It’s okay because we are here to advise 12 best SEO practices to boost your website rank, which you can try immediately. So, let’s get started!
What Are SEO Best Practices?
SEO practices are guidelines that help websites rank higher in search engines like Google. Sounds like what you are targeting?
Obviously, the higher the page rank on search engines, the more visitors you receive. Think about your action taken when searching for something. Most of us will click on the top result on the first page, right?
Backlinko’s survey has found that 54.4% of all clicks are for the top 3 Google search results. Because of this benefit, most businesses have high hopes when doing SEO campaigns for their website. However, not everyone can create a successful one.
The common mistake is improper SEO implementations. So, what are these practices, and how can you get started with them? Continue to read.
12 SEO Best Practices To Boost Your Website Rank
Here are the 12 SEO best practices that will maximize your SEO effort:
- Understand Google Discover’s policies
- Optimize title tags and meta descriptions
- Place main keywords thoroughly
- Provide informative content
- Improve technical SEO
- Optimize images
- Add internal links
- Claim high-authority backlinks
- Improve User Experience
- Audit Page Regularly
- Know audiences’ search intent
- Understand Google Discover’s Policies
Look at this picture, is it familiar?
We bet you have often seen this tool but might not know its name yet. This tool is called Google Discover, an SEO tool displayed on Google’s home page on mobile devices.
As one of the most-used global SEO tools specifically designed for mobile usage, Google Discover has become businesses’ main target when doing SEO campaigns. By strictly following the tool’s policies, your page has a higher potential for web bots to crawl through, increasing the chance to rank and increase traffic.
- Produce high-quality content.
- Insert visuals for a better explanation.
- Compress and optimize videos to avoid lengthy page speed time.
- Use mobile to optimize your site for the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
- Optimize Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
We have detailed the importance of title tags and meta descriptions in our on-page SEO guides. But basically, optimizing title tags and meta descriptions is like improving your visitor’s first impression of your page.
As they directly impact the page’s click-through rate, you need proper optimization, which is:
a. Title Tags
Title tags are clickable headlines that appear in SERPs (search engine results pages). They are essential SEO elements that aim to notify search engines what your page is discussing.
By looking at the title tag, users can have a quick brief of your page’s content to see whether or not they match users’ search intent. Thus, the more attractive and relevant the title tags are, the more clicks the page will receive.
Here are some tips for creating title tags:
- Keep them between 50 to 60 characters.
- Include your target keyword.
- Match search intent.
- Avoid duplicate title tags.
- Avoid keyword stuffing.
- Keep them descriptive but concise.
b. Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are the more extended version of title tags. They are also summaries of your webpage’s content but appear below the title and URL in the SERPs.
Google indicates the length of meta descriptions should be less than 160 characters. Thus, keeping your content short and straightforward is important.
Here are some notices for creating meta descriptions:
- Write different meta descriptions according to the specific page’s content.
- Use action-oriented language or CTA to encourage users.
- Include your primary keyword to enhance relevance.
- Ensure the meta description aligns with the search intent of users.
- Place Main Keywords Thoroughly
The main keyword is your unique targeting keyword representing the critical topic of the article, webpage, etc. This specific phrase is what Google uses to align your content with users’ search intent.
Though there are no clear statements about how many keywords to put or where to put them, experts recommend placing your main keyword thoroughly within the content. Here are the most common parts to include primary keywords:
- Title tag
- Headers (especially the H1)
- Meta description
- Provide Informative Content
Without good content, your page is nothing. Let us get this straight.
Google highly values pages with informative content. For example, when writing product descriptions, think about what information to include that is useful to customers considering your offers: price, USPs, options, inventory, etc.
When creating content, the decisive factor is not about the length nor overstuffing SEO factors purposely used for ranking, but how original and educational your content is.
Here is how to start: Find a trending topic in your industry, then create new content based on your research, understanding, and perspectives.
- Improve Technical SEO
Technical SEO might sound complicated to many marketers, but the optimization process would not be completed without this.
While on-page SEO focuses on improving user experiences, technical SEO supports search engines in better understanding your page. During that process, there are some basic technical vocabularies you should notice:
- Index: Google records a page’s content and URL information in its index entry. The indexing process would start with fetching, reading, and adding a page to the index.
- Crawl: Crawl means identifying new or updated web pages. Google discovers URLs through existing links, sitemaps, and others. After that is the indexing process.
- Crawler: A crawler is an automated software program that fetches or retrieves web pages from the internet, adding them to the search engine’s index.
- Googlebot: Googlebot is the name of Google’s crawler, which regularly visits websites, retrieves pages, and updates the index with new or updated content.
- Sitemap: A sitemap is like a map or index of your site’s web pages. Search engines and visitors use this to navigate your website easily, like a table of contents.
- SSL Certificate: An SSL certificate validates your website’s credibility and security, which means the URL starts with “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP.” Having an SSL-certified website enhances your chances of ranking higher in search results.
- URL Structure: Your website’s URLs are essential for both search engines and users to understand what your page is about. Here are some tips for a well-structured URL:
- Keep URLs short.
- Use keywords that accurately describe the page content.
- Avoid using unnecessary symbols and words in the URL.
- Ensure URLs are descriptive and provide information about the page’s content.
- Optimize Images
You cannot deny how much images in SEO best practices help with user engagement on your site. Hence, optimizing it is a “must” step in the SEO process.
a. Use The Appropriate File Type
There are numerous image formats. Each has unique functions and impacts your website’s loading speed, size, etc. Here are the three most common image formats:
- JPEG: This format is commonly used for photographs and offers good compression for complex images with many colors.
- PNG: PNG suits images with text, line drawings, or a transparent background. It provides better quality for these images but may result in larger file sizes.
- WebP: The modern image format recommended by Google offers lossless and lossy compression to minimize file sizes 26% smaller than PNG and 34% less than JPEG. (Learn more about this format on Google Guide).
b. Compress File
Large file sizes can negatively affect page loading speed. Therefore, compress your vision to minimize its size without losing quality before uploading.
There are various free tools to help you with file compression, but the best three are:
c. Include Alt Text
Search engines and people might need help understanding images and videos like you expected them to be. Hence, it’s necessary to use descriptive info for images and videos. In other words, alt text.
Alt text is an image description in a short form. It serves two purposes: helping search engines understand the image and providing information to people using screen readers.
Though Google has advanced technology to scan your image, adding alt text to images is still one of the important SEO best practices. Here are some recommended steps to follow when writing alt text:
- Keep it concise: Keep the alt text under 125 characters.
- Include a relevant keyword: Include one primary keyword that provides context and helps search engines crawl your images.
- Avoid unnecessary phrases: Avoid including terms like “image of” or “picture of.”
d. Lazy-Load Your Images
Google once explained the lazy load definition:
“When we lazy load images and video, we reduce initial page load time, initial page weight, and system resource usage, all of which positively impact performance.”
In short, lazy loading improves website performance by delaying loading images until needed.
The process is: Instead of loading all the images on a webpage at once, lazy loading loads only the images visible to the user or about to come into view as they scroll down the page. This helps reduce the initial page load time and saves bandwidth.
- Add Internal Links
Internal links are one of the SEO best practices that represent the connections between different pages within your website. The more links a page has from external and internal sources, the higher its PageRank. Why?
Because search engines, like Google, use these links to understand the website structure and content. Therefore, a proper internal link structure can potentially boost your rankings.
*Tips: A good SEO strategy is to link from high-ranking pages to ones that want to promote, typically linking older authoritative pages to new ones.
→ Establish an information hierarchy and balance your traffic between pages.
Most Content Management Systems (CMS) automatically add internal links to new web pages. However, it’s still recommended to manually add relevant internal links whenever you publish something new. This process enables you to avoid SEO errors and ensure a well-connected website.
- Claim High-authority Backlinks
Link building, or backlinks, is consistently listed among the top off-page SEO elements to implement in an SEO strategy.
Google considers backlinks a sign of trust and credibility from other websites. The more high-authority backlinks your page has, the better ranking chance you have on search results.
Sounds beneficial, doesn’t it? However, not all backlinks are equal. Some can significantly improve your ranking for specific searches, while others can hurt your ranking. Why?
Depending on your third party’s authority. It is essential to carefully research your partner, such as DR, traffic, backlinks quantity, etc. Ideally, choose equal to higher-level third parties to build backlinks:
- Connect with businesses in your niche and ask for backlinks.
- Get listed in reputable directories for more traffic.
- Create attractive infographics with a source link for others to share.
- Write guest posts on relevant blogs.
- Analyze your competitors’ backlinks for new opportunities.
- Engage with experienced bloggers in your niche.
- Ask bloggers to write reviews of your content with a link to your website.
- Improve User Experience
Google pays close attention to how users interact with webpages, making user experience (UX) an essential factor in improving search rankings.
One aspect of UX that can significantly impact your site’s performance is page speed. However, there are other SEO tips you should consider to ensure a positive user experience:
- Use headers and subheadings: Properly formatted headers (H1, H2, H3) structure your content, allowing Google and readers to navigate easily.
- Make your content visually appealing: Including relevant images, videos, and data can enhance engagement with your content.
- Avoid intrusive pop-ups: Pop-ups annoy visitors, and Google penalizes sites with over-stuffing pop-ups. Use them sparingly to avoid negative impacts.
- Utilize white space: White space is crucial for good design, enhancing legibility, branding, and focus on your website.
- Ensure mobile-friendliness: As mobile-first indexing becomes more critical, having a mobile-friendly site is essential for both UX and search rankings. Use Google’s mobile-friendly test to check yours.
- Audit Page Regularly
An SEO audit is like a break during your SEO process to double-check your website’s performance. It helps identify errors and issues affecting user experience and content quality.
Doing regular audits allows you to make immediate adjustments. Here are five key steps to conduct an SEO audit:
- Check for broken links: Ensure all links on your website are working properly.
- Optimize page titles and meta descriptions: Write unique, descriptive titles and compelling meta descriptions.
- Improve site speed: Fasten your website’s loading time to enhance user experience.
- Enhance mobile responsiveness: Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and displays correctly on different devices.
- Evaluate keyword usage: Analyze your website’s keyword usage and ensure it aligns with your target audience and industry.
- Know Audiences’ Search Intent
This step in SEO best practices really means saving the best for last.
How can you create something without understanding audiences’ expectations on your site? You can’t – we guarantee.
Search intent, like user intent, is the purpose behind a search query. Google prioritizes understanding and fulfilling search intent, and the pages that rank well have met this criterion.
Regarding search results, blog posts or videos usually appear at the top, rather than ecommerce pages selling products. This is because Google recognizes that people searching for this keyword are looking for information rather than making a purchase.
There are four common types of search intent:
- Informational: When someone wants to learn more about a specific topic.
- Navigational: When someone is searching for a particular website or page.
- Commercial: When someone is researching before making a purchase.
- Transactional: When someone intends to take action, such as making a purchase.
In conclusion, the one-and-only purpose of these SEO best practices is to rank your website on search engines. These consist of utilizing elements from on-page, off-page, to technical SEO to maximize the campaign effectiveness. Though these are only the basic tactics, they are a great starting point for SMEs.
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